BURNLEY boss Eddie Howe bemoaned his side’s slow start as the Clarets were crushed by Crystal Palace.
A 10th minute header from Jonathan Parr and a spot kick after the hour converted by Owen Garvan did the damage at Selhurst Park as the Clarets fell to their first defeat of the new Championship campaign.
“It was a disappointing start, we were very slow out of the traps in the first 15 minutes and conceded in that period,” said Howe. “When you come away from home and go a goal down early on it’s always going to be difficult. I don’t know why we started slowly, sometimes there’s no rhyme or reason to it, we were just under the cosh and couldn’t get out of our own half.”
Burnley picked up the momentum midway through the first half with Jay Rodriguez and Ross Wallace both going close to forging an equaliser. However, Eagles’ stopper Julian Speroni was in fine form to keep the duo at bay.
“I thought for the rest of the first half we controlled the game and on another day it perhaps would have been different,” Howe said. “I thought their goalkeeper made a couple of great saves in the first half, I thought we created the chances, Jay Rodriguez on another day could have had two or three.
“Once we got our foot on the ball and started playing our football I thought we were in control and the better side.”
Wade Elliott’s appeals for a penalty were waved away by match official Brendan Malone after the interval but in search of a breakthrough the Clarets became stretched and paid the penalty, literally. Ben Mee swiped down Sean Scannell in the 66th minute and Garvan obliged by putting the game beyond any doubt.
Andre Amougou, substitute Charlie Austin, Brian Easton and Wallace all had chances to reduce the deficit late on but Burnley’s poor goal-scoring record at the stadium in South Norwood continued.
Howe said: “I thought we put some dangerous balls in their box, Andre had a header from the six-yard box and I thought we should have had a penalty. The second goal was a bit of a killer blow, you felt the longer the game was 1-0 the more we’d come into it and that was a disappointing one to concede.”
He added: “You look at the way we finished the game, we were well on top and knocking at the door but once the second goal goes in it’s a real uphill battle.
“We need to do better defensively, there’s no doubt about that, it was a poor goal to concede. We were chasing the game a little bit, we became a little bit stretched and maybe a little bit too open. There are areas there for us to work on.”
The Clarets have conceded twice in both of their opening Championship fixtures to date as well as three against League Two outfit Burton Albion in the midweek Carling Cup tie. Now Howe is eager to diminish those defensive lapses.
“Defensively is a big area for concern still,” Howe said. “The obvious record is we’ve conceded two in both games this season so far and that’s an area we need to look at.
“I think we’ll score goals this season and I think we’ll create goals, but at the other end we’ve got to tighten up.”
Rodriguez endured a frustrating afternoon in the capital, finding limited success as a lone striker in a 4-5-1 formation. Charlie Austin was demoted to the bench following his wonder strike against Paul Peschisolido’s side but Howe admits the decision was made due to a lack of options.
“If we’d started with 4-4-2 we would have had no plan B, that would have been our team and we would have had nothing to change it with,” he said. “I’m loath to go into a game with nothing to change it with if you need to change it, so we decided to go with Charlie Austin on the bench and 4-5-1, then change it if we needed to. The disappointing thing was as soon as we changed it we conceded the second goal.”